Tuesday, May 18, 2010

5 Places to Teach the 5 Senses

Welcome to the May Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival, 'Kids and Learning.'

The Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival hosted by Science@home is for anyone, because we are all teachers and learners. This month our bloggers have come up with some wonderful suggestions for fun things to do with your kids, ways to help them learn and thoughts on what learning is. Please read to the end to find links to other blogs, you might find a wonderful new blog to follow.

As a parent, the most fun activity programs I enjoy are things to do with the 5 senses. Young children delight in being active with their learning, so activities where they can explore feeling, tasting, smelling, listening, and looking are all usually a big hit in our household.

I have put together 5 fun places where you can explore the 5 senses with your toddler or pre-schooler. The great thing is kids don't even realize they are learning so much doing fun things like this!

In the kitchen:
Something as simple as juicing some oranges can be used to explore the 5 senses. Look at the oranges and see the gorgeous bright orange colour. Cut them in half and smell the yummy orange scent. Juice them and listen to the squelching as they are juiced. Feel the orange rind texture of the outside of the orange and the squishy flesh inside. Taste the delicious juice!

At the beach:
The beach offers a huge amount of opportunities for exploring the 5 senses. Paddle through the water, dig through the sand, touch some slimy seaweed with your hands to feel the contrasting textures. Taste a little bit of the salty sea water - yuck! Find a shell and look at its colors and shapes. Listen to the rhythmic sound of the waves lapping on the shore. Smell the fresh salty sea air, or smell the rotten fish washed up on the beach (!).

In the garden:
The garden of course is one of the most popular teaching tools for the 5 senses. Even in a small garden there is lots to find to explore. Sit with your child and wait for a bird. Look at the colourings and plumage. Listen to the bird song. Maybe there will be more than one type of bird and you can compare them. Do you have a small vegie garden or some herbs in pots? Let your child help dig or re-plant. Feel the soil texture in the fingers, compare to the texture of some bark or mulch. Taste a little bit of herb. Crush some herb leaves between your fingers and smell the pungent scent. Maybe name the herb and what you might use it in.

In the bathtub:
Bath time is usually one of the favourite time of day for kids. Why not incorporate some fun activities to explore the 5 senses? While the bath is running, pour some fun bubble bath in. Smell the delicious scent of the bubble bath wafting up. See masses of bubbles forming under the stream of water. Feel the bubbles, what do they feel like? Slippery? Foamy? Once your child is in the bath, put in a range of toys. Kids always seem to drink bath water for some reason, why not ask them what it tastes like - is it soapy? Is it yummy? Plonk a toy up and down on the water, listen to the sound. Then plonk a different toy up and down on the water. Is the sound different?

Going for a walk through a park:
There is nothing more gorgeous that seeing a child's wonderment at the simplest things we take for granted. A little bug, rain falling, watching the clouds make formations. On a walk you can have so much fun exploring the environment. On your way through the park, walk through some fallen leaves. Listen to the scrunching munching sound of the leaves. Or if they are wet are they squishing and squelching? There is so much to look at on a walk through the park. Gather a bunch of leaves together. Compare leaves from different trees - how are they different? Look at the shape, some might have smooth edges and some might have serrated. Some might be green toned and some might be brown or red tones. Feel the surface of the leaves. Are they waxy? Smooth? Furry? Rub some leaves in your fingers. What sort of scent is it? Fresh? Musty? And finally taste - after all this hard work maybe the kids deserve a delicious cold yummy ice-cream from the ice-cream stand. Why not ask them to describe in as many descriptive words as possible how their ice-cream tastes!

And to finish off here is an excellent educational video on "The 5 Senses" I found on You Tube:

Visit Science@home if you are interested in participating in next month's Teach/Learn carnival. Please take the time to visit the other participants and see what they have to say:
Thanks for joining us! We hope to see you next month.


amandab said...

I love stopping to try and enjoy every little thing when we are out. We went for a walk at The Briars in Mt Martha yesterday, holding everyone up as we touched all the different leave and talked about them. And then it was Dadda's turn to hold everyone up as they listened for frogs and babbling creeks. I think mayber Nana was cold, because she kept moving! LOL (Nana did "steal" a fallen banksia flower for us to keep and play with though!)

Thanks for some of the other ideas :)

PlanningQueen said...

Very true about things like what we see when we walk in the park and how as adults we don't take always take the time to appreciate them. A good reminder to slow down and let the little ones take it all in.

Deb said...

Thanks for pushing me to go out. I'm a homebody and would happily stay here every day, I need the reminder to get out and do different things. The big girl still talks about the night picnic we did months ago, obviously it made a big impression!
Even getting into the garden - we play outside a lot, but I'm not a gardener. That would be a whole new range of experiences.

katepickle said...

a fabulous reminder for us adults to enjoy and use all our senses too!

CatWay said...

It's always good to remember to stop and use all the senses. I know I spend too much time telling my sons to hurry up rather than relish the experience.

The Original SuperParent said...

Nice post and great for the young ones. I remember watching a documentary recently about Savants - ridiculously clever but differently wired individuals. These guys could remember and process vast amounts of information. What I thought was particularly interesting was that some of the associate colours and numbers. Or they might be able to taste an equation. In my son's violin class recently, the teacher asked him what he thought of the music. How he felt. Yet another tactile word to match with different activities.

Monique - the 'bottom code' I got from Deb had a different link to your page. You should check to see if the other's have the correct URL.



Miss Carly said...

I miss living near the beach -- the smell of the ocean, the sand between your toes, the sound of the waves crashing. Great post!

Sarah said...

This is a fantastic list! I love that all the ideas are so simple to implement :)

The Original SuperParent said...

I've just posted a follow up to my original post called a Child's Perspective on Support Needed for Sport which is a guest post written by 5th Degree Karate instructor Matt Klein about the support needed by children from their parents. Check it out. Cheers, Colin